The WorldChange Model

Model Overview

WorldChange is a simulation model created by adding a change resistance subsystem to the World3 model of Limits to Growth. This is necessary since the crux of the sustainability problem is how to overcome change resistance, as explained in this paper.

Numerous changes were made to the World3 model. None affect its basic behavior. All of the original scenarios of the third edition of Limits to Growth may be run. By turning on the change resistance subsystem, additional scenarios may be run. These show the effect of high change resistance on promoted solutions. When change resistance is high, most solutions are blocked. Only a low percentage are implemented. The result is partial collapse.

The change resistance subsystem is a modified version of The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace model. Two main root causes of change resistance were found. The first is the cause of why change resistance is so successful. The second is the source of all this change resistance and is the deeper of the two root causes. Various scenarios show that if these root causes are resolved, then the sustainabiltiy problem becomes solvable.

The key conclusions of the WorldChange model are:

1. In a social system, the goal of the dominant social agent becomes the goal of the system. (This is actually a principle.)

2. Corporatis profitis (large for-profit corporations) is the dominant social agent in the global human system.

3. As long as the goal of Corporatis profitis is short term maximization of profit, the sustainability problem will be insolvable due to the wrong implicit system goal, which causes high change resistance.

We have prepared two videos to explain the WorldChange model:

Video - Introduction to the WorldChange Model

Be sure to watch this in HD. There are lots of small details. Even better, also watch it in Full Screen or on YouTube in LargePlayer.

The WorldChange model was created by adding a change resistance subsystem to the World3 model of Limits to Growth. The video gives an overview of how the subsystem works, what the root causes and high leverage points are, and the WorldChange model conclusions. The conclusions are expressed in terms of simulation scenarios.


If the video lights a spark, then here is related further material:

The change resistance subsystem is a modified version of The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace model. This was created in 2005. You can read about it in this unpublished paper. This covers the first root cause, the one that causes successful change resistance.

The second deeper root cause, the implicit goal of the system, has been written up in this paper and later in this book. However, these write ups doesn't use quite the same terms and emphasis as the video. Of potential interest is the book goes into detail on a sample solution for the deeper root cause. This is Corporation 2.0.

Video - Adding Change Resistance to Integrated Global Models

This explains why a change resistance subsystem needs to be added to highly influential integrated models like Climate Interactive's C-ROADS and the Limits to Growth's WORLD3. The video also explains how that can be done architecturally.


The video briefly describes how The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace simulation models works. Here's the 2005 paper on that model. Please remember the Dueling Loops model is only an example. It's not a definitive analysis.

The video contains two key diagrams. Here's the first:

A system thinker's view of solving a public interest problem

And here's the second diagram:

Diagram of adding change resistance to integrated world models

Integrated models like C-ROADS and WORLD3 are essentially IPAT equation models. They model that part of the problem well. But they assume a solution has been implemented. Thus these models exclude how the Political System, due to change resistance, can reject or greatly weaken Promoted Solutions, as shown in the lower right diagram. That can be corrected by adding a Change Resistance Subsystem as shown.

The diagram is simplified. As the Change Resistance Subsystem becomes more sophisticated, there will be interactions with the IPAT Integrated Global Model. These arrows are not shown.

Thwink.org has done an extensive root cause analysis on the global environmental sustainability problem as a whole, using the System Improvement Process. The one big problem was decomposed into four subproblems, one of which is change resistance. For a summary of the analysis, please see Summary of Analysis Results.

The Simulation Model

This is a fairly advanced model for serious modelers. This file ZIP includes the model, supporting metafiles, and images. The model to run is WorldChange.mdl.

Vensim PLE or PLE Plus is recommended for running the model, since Vensim Professional 6.1C, the current version (?), has a bug. The POLICY YEAR slider moves in visual increments of 10 years, despite being set to move in increments of 1 year. We have reported the bug to Ventana Systems.

For how to run models like this one see The World of Simulation.

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